Nick leads Colts’ quest

CENTRAL North Zone cricket selectors have named a “well balanced side” for next month’s Country Colts Championships in Wollongong.

Tamworth’s Nick Pearson has been named captain of the CNZ Colts for the January 26/27/28 titles despite missing Sunday’s CNZ Colts trial in Scone.

Pearson, who captains Bective-East in the NICU Tamworth grade competition and who led the Northern NSW Emus (Under 21s) to New Zealand earlier this year, had work commitments last Sunday and forced to miss the trial won convincingly by Hunter Valley.

HV beat Northern Inland by almost 100 runs in Scone and finished with seven in the squad of 12.

State Under 17 representative Riley Ayre (Denman) was also forced to miss the trial and has also been named.

Ayre skippered the CNZ to its first ever Bradman Cup (Under 16) title in Wollongong last year.

Ayre, State Under 19 Harrison Kelly and Pearson will be the spinners in the side with Angus McNeil, Ben Neaves, Tom Irwin, Rigby Vane-Wood and Grant Stewart providing the medium pace, advised CNZ chairman Terry Psarakis.

“It’s a pretty well balanced side,” Psarakis said.

“We’ve got some good young pacemen in Angus (McNeil), Ben Neaves, Rigby Vane-Wood and Chris Holland. Then there is Riley and Harrison to bowl spin. And Nick too. I reckon he doesn’t bowl himself enough.”

Moree’s Chris Holland is an interesting choice.

“He bowls quickly,” Psarakis said.

“And he can bat too. He loves to bat. He topscored for us (Northern Inland) at Scone on Sunday with 42. He’s got a really good eye. He scored a few runs for us (CNZ) at an Under 17 Carnival a couple of years ago too.” Rigby and Riley are out of our Bradman Cup winning side last year, but the rest are all older players.

“Nick, Angus, Tom Irwin and Ben Neaves were all on the Emus tour to NZ earlier this year too.

“Riley is from Denman but now plays his club cricket with Souths in Tamworth. Angus is the same, coming from Muswellbrook but playing with us (Souths) in Tamworth.”

McNeil was man of the match in last season’s Tamworth first grade grand final.

o Sydney club Western Suburbs staged their first cricket coaching clinic in Tamworth yesterday.

The foundation Sydney club sponsored a three-day cricket clinic at Riverside in Tamworth run by former Country skipper Jeff Cook with the help of local North Tamworth first grade allrounders Leo Steyn and Mitch Holt.

Western Suburbs club president, John Hardgrove, was also present for the first day and delighted to be part of a clinic helping teach young players a few new skills.

o Turn to Page 24 for more on the Western Suburbs coaching clinic.

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